Studland Coast Road, Dorset, UK
Great roads should have superb scenery, a stunning destination and, most importantly, some testing tarmac on which to test your Porsche. However, this latest instalment starts not on bitumen but on a boat.
The Swanage Chain Ferry to be exact, a five-minute amble across the mouth of Poole Harbour that will set you back £3.50, taking you from Sandbanks (home of the world’s most expensive properties) to Studland, the gateway to Dorset’s Jurassic coastline.
While the weather and the scenery is exponentially more inviting during the summer, if you want to enjoy the drive its best to tackle this particular stretch of tarmac out of season when the roads are thankfully more bereft of tourists and holiday makers.
After rolling off the ferry, you’re initially faced with a straight running at sea-level for nearly a mile through the heathland. At its climax, the road enters into a number of fast, sweeping bends that undulate their way through Studland & Godlingston Heath.
From here, the road rolls through the village of Studland, before jutting up hill as the speed limit heads back to national. A fork in the road can take you to the coastal town of Swanage, however, keep right and keep on the B3351 – the Studland coast road’s official title.
Now on a ridge, the road narrows but becomes more challenging, twisting its way through the remaining gorse and heath with a number of blind-entry corners to test your mettle (and that of your car).
Latitude: 50°40’49.0″N 1°56’59.8″W
Length of drive: 8.4 miles
Points of interest:
Swanage Steam Railway
Food and accommodation:
Bankes Arms, Studland, BH19 3AU
The Castle Inn, Corfe Castle, BH20 5EE
The tarmac is no less challenging though, with quick sweepers giving way to heavy braking zones and plenty of camber changes. A particular standout is one downhill left-hander that suddenly springs upon you right toward the end of the route.
Having negotiated this curve, you’ll pass under the Swanage Railway bridge and be faced with a view of the Corfe Castle ruins. Here you can stop to visit Dorset’s older castle or, head straight across the cross roads towards the Lulworth Range roads which, if open, can extend your journey all the way to West Dorset via some more superb lanes.